THEATRE REVIEW: This Is Living starring Michael Socha & Tamla Kari

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHERE: Trafalgar Studios 2

WHEN: 17/5 runs to 11/6

Stage fright is the ailment one might normally associate with the theatre but here we were far more worried about the probability of trench foot affecting the cast.

  • Read on for why Michael Socha could follow in Jack O’Connell’s Hollywood steps

The actors in this two-hander spend most of their time on stage sloshing about in a mini paddling pool where they are sock-deep in water in an effective evocation of the location where one of them probably lost their lives.

This is Living is writer Liam Borrett’s debut play. It is about saying goodbye as well as realising how precious life is. How to love is as important as to be loved.

It’s set in the 100-strong Trafalgar Studios 2 venue and benefits from the intimacy with which it is afforded. We are shown to our front row seats with flashlights and, despite some near misses, aren’t splashed at all by the two lovers.

Michael Socha (The Aliens, This Is England) is Michael and Tamla Kari (The Inbetweeners Movie) Alice and over the course of the evening we see how they meet – and fall in love.

The time-shifting – at the flick of a light switch – is very reminiscent of Nick Payne’s Constellations yet the production’s greatest strength is the young cast who are never less than endearing. Their chemistry means the pacing of this 90-minute production never sags.

Kari brings Alice to vivid life as the brash northerner who loves dancing and a good time yet it is Socha, who wants to be a father, who really tugs at the heartstrings in a way that could see him follow his fellow Channel 4 graduate Jack O’Connell to Hollywood.

Is Michael haunted by Alice’s ghost? Is Alice having a Jacob’s Ladder-style series of moments before departing the earth? There’s so much to enjoy and, perhaps more importantly, on which to ponder long after it is finished in this exciting new work.

  • Ticket details here. Picture from This Is Living trailer.
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham

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